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Hansapank earned a profit of 121.4 million kroons (USD 7.95 mln) in December, which took the bank's total profit for 1999 up to 540.4 million kroons, figures released on Monday show. Hansapank's profit in November amounted to 30.2 million kroons. Of the bank's income in December, net interest income after provisions accounted for 60.5 percent; financial income one percent; fees and commissions, 37.1 percent; and other income, 1.4 percent. The bank's loan portfolio at the end of December stood at 13.96 billion kroons, a rise of 270 million kroons during the month, while deposits totaled 15.38 billion kroons, up by 303 million kroons.
Owners' equity amounted to 4.69 billion kroons as of Dec. 31. The bank's total assets, at 25.81 billion kroons, were up by 1.15 billion kroons during the month.
If Hansapank pays out the entire last year's profit of 540 million kroons in dividends, and also pays the income tax of 140 million kroons on it, the size of the dividends could be 5 kroons per share, but the issue is still to be decided. Hansapank management is in dreamland if it believes this a good strategy, as it seems to indicate a disregard for evaluating reinvestment needs and potential growth opportunities in its core businesses. Hansapank cannot buy back shares from shareholders; according to the law, it can do so only to make up for loss, Hansapank analyst Mart Toevere said.
Toevere told BNS that it is highly probable that only the bank's retained profit can be paid out, because profit of the group's companies has previously been redistributed on only one occasion, in 1997. Besides the 540-million-kroon profit in 1999, Hansapank also has nearly 260 million kroons of retained profit from previous periods. Toevere said the size of the dividends could be discussed at a meeting of the bank council next Thursday. The distribution of the profit will finally be decided in February, when the bank releases its audited 1999 results. Permission for the payment of dividends must be granted by the Bank of Estonia.
The unaudited profit of Latvia's Hansabanka in 1999 was 1.19 million lats (USD 2.03 mln), the bank told BNS. Hansabanka's spokeswoman Eliza Abele said that in 1999 the bank saw its fastest growth so far. The number of the bank's customers increased by 67 percent last year to 100,000. Hansabanka's assets grew by 39 percent or 56.8 million lats in 1999 to 201.036 million lats at the end of the year as compared to 144.6 million lats as of December 31, 1998.
Total deposits held by the bank increased by some 50 percent, or 54.4 million lats, last year to 165.3 million lats late December 1999. The amount of personal deposits made with Hansabanka grew by 94 percent over December 31, 1998, and totalled 46.4 million lats at the end of 1999. Abele noted that the number of the bank's corporate customers also grew in the first half of 1999, while the credit portfolio expanded rapidly in the second half of the year.
As of December 31, 1999, Hansabanka's credit portfolio constituted 85.7 million lats, up by 47.3 percent from the end of 1998. The bank's own capital grew by 65.4 percent last year to 18.2 million lats. Share capital increased by 6 million lats as of December 1999, with the entire share issue bought by Estonian Hansapank.
Hansabanka's spokeswoman said that increasing its market share was one of the bank's strategically important objectives last year. In order to achieve this objective, the bank invested heavily to improve its computer capabilities. The number of payment cards issued by Hansabanka increased 2.5 times in 1999 and transactions made through its automatic teller machine (ATM) network tripled. Hansabanka is the third largest commercial bank in Latvia in terms of assets. It is owned by Estonian Hansapank group. In 1998 Hansabanka (at the time Hansabank-Latvija) posted an audited loss of 3.2 million lats.
Optiva Bank ended 1999 with a loss of 18.7 million kroons. The bank said the negative outcome was due to a loss of 30 million kroons in December, caused by additional provisioning. "The strategic goal of Optiva Bank for its first year of operation was above all to achieve stability. This goal was reached, and also the year's operating result was in every way in line with expectations," Optiva Bank said.
The bank's operating profit before provisions and amortization amounted to 81.4 million kroons. Optiva's balance sheet grew by 17.7 percent during 1999 to 3.7 billion kroons at the end of the year. Clients' deposits were up by 678 million kroons, or 77.3 percent, including demand deposits, by 505 million kroons or 92 percent, and fixed-term deposits, by 173 million kroons or 53 percent.
The bank saw a record increase in deposits in December -- up by 314 million kroons or 25.3 percent. Owners' equity at the end of December amounted to 319.3 million kroons or 8.5 percent of the bank's assets, while capital adequacy was 10.51 percent.
Eesti Uhispank earned a profit of 101 million kroons in 1999, of this 12.2 million kroons in December, unaudited figures released on Monday show. Interest income made up 54.5 percent, service fees and commissions 19.1 percent, financial income 20.5 percent, and other income, 6.0 percent. Total assets of Uhispank stood at 13.96 billion kroons at the end of December, a drop of nearly 0.3 billion kroons from November. Uhispank's capital adequacy at the end of 1999 was 13.7 percent.
Utenos Trikotazas, Lithuania's leading knitwear producer, reported a pre-audit net profit of 13 million litas (USD 3.25 mln) for 1999. Profit was up from 11.8 million litas posted in 1998, the company said on Thursday. Utenos Trikotazas Financial Manager Nerijus Datkunas told BNS the increased profit had been due to many factors, but refused to elaborate. The company's turnover came to 109.1 million litas in 1999, up from 100.97 million litas reported in 1998.